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When Proctor recites the commandments, which one does he omit?

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stevenss | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 1, 2007 at 12:32 PM via web

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When Proctor recites the commandments, which one does he omit?

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krounds | Student , College Sophomore | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 22, 2014 at 7:59 PM (Answer #4)

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When John Proctor is asked by Reverend Hale to recite the Ten Commandments he is ironically unable to name off the commandment regarding adultery. This is significant because Proctor carried out an affair with Abigail Williams, and although he and his wife Elizabeth were seemingly able to move on and come to terms with this indiscretion, the lengthy moment where we realize that he cannot identify his biggest sin is incredibly heavy.  

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lmillerm | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted February 1, 2007 at 12:40 PM (Answer #1)

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When Reverend Hale asks Proctor to recite the ten commandments, Proctor ironically omits the commandment that forbids adultery. This omission is significant due to Proctor's affair with Abigail.

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shauger | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 4, 2007 at 10:03 PM (Answer #2)

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The commandment against adultery- which is the one he has "forgotten" in real life as well. He has committed adultery with Abigail Williams, and that commandment is the one he can't remember. It is a nice piece of irony.

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revolution | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:25 AM (Answer #3)

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When Proctor recites the Ten Commandments, he purposefully and ironically omitted the commandment that has forbidden adultery and condemned it as a serious crime that is punishable. He didn't name it as it makes him faintly as he would remember the time when he and Abigail committed adultery and developed an affair. He exposes his deficiency of the Christian morality but also suggest a notion that his entire household had been succumbed to witchcraft and was under Abigail tight control and evil influence.

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